Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

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Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#1 Postby otowntiger » Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:06 pm

If for instance hurricane ‘beta’ is a historically bad storm- how is it remembered? Could the name ‘Beta’ be retired? Or would we just refer to it as ‘Beta 2020’?
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#2 Postby zhukm29 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:11 pm

Per current WMO policy, Greek storms cannot be retired and can only be remembered as "notable" with the list of retired storms. And yeah, if Beta were to be bad this year, it would be remembered as "Beta (2020)", and Beta would be back on the list for future years if we get that far again.

Although if Beta did end up being bad, I'd say that the policy could end up getting changed. I'm still hoping they add XYZ this year though like they did in 1985 so that the chances of having to deal with this situation is lower. October has been known to churn up some monsters, and 3 extra names can buy a lot of time, especially as we enter the last few weeks of September and early October.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#3 Postby gfsperpendicular » Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:43 pm

It seems logical to me that if a Greek letter storm had Katrina-like effects, they would find a way to retire it. There's the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph, Bet, etc.), which is almost the same length as the Greek. There's also the phonetic alphabet they used from 1950 to 1952 (Able, Baker, etc.) although all the later versions of that alphabet include Alpha and Delta. More likely, however, is that they just add to the "normal" lists, perhaps adding XYZ names or an auxiliary list and removing the Greek names altogether.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#4 Postby FrontRunner » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:05 pm

zhukm29 wrote:Per current WMO policy, Greek storms cannot be retired and can only be remembered as "notable" with the list of retired storms.


I was thinking about this earlier and assumed they'd just "retire" the Greek name and just skip it if/when we get to the Greeks again. If Beta was retired, then the next time we get there we'd just go Alpha, Gamma, Delta.... However I wasn't aware of the policy you cited, so who knows.

Do the Greeks apply to the East Pac as well? I don't pay much attention to the West Pac -- do they just cycle through lists continuously since they usually have so many?
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#5 Postby aspen » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:59 pm

If we see an ultra intense or destructive Greek storm this year — which is definitely possible since we only have Wilfred remaining but several weeks of activity to have some more big storms — I could see the NHC or World Meteorology Organization reconsidering the use of the Greek alphabet. Perhaps a seventh name list that has retire-able names but will only be used if the current name list is exhausted, or adding rotating XYZ names, or both. That’ll still give the Atlantic more names during crazy hyperactive seasons like 1933/2005/2020 and we won’t have to worry about whether they can even be retired or not if one decides to go nuclear.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#6 Postby CrazyC83 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:47 pm

FrontRunner wrote:
zhukm29 wrote:Per current WMO policy, Greek storms cannot be retired and can only be remembered as "notable" with the list of retired storms.


I was thinking about this earlier and assumed they'd just "retire" the Greek name and just skip it if/when we get to the Greeks again. If Beta was retired, then the next time we get there we'd just go Alpha, Gamma, Delta.... However I wasn't aware of the policy you cited, so who knows.

Do the Greeks apply to the East Pac as well? I don't pay much attention to the West Pac -- do they just cycle through lists continuously since they usually have so many?


Yes, the Greek Alphabet is also used for the EPAC starting at 25 named storms. It has never made it that far, but has come close several times.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#7 Postby Fancy1001 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:57 pm

aspen wrote:If we see an ultra intense or destructive Greek storm this year — which is definitely possible since we only have Wilfred remaining but several weeks of activity to have some more big storms — I could see the NHC or World Meteorology Organization reconsidering the use of the Greek alphabet. Perhaps a seventh name list that has retire-able names but will only be used if the current name list is exhausted, or adding rotating XYZ names, or both. That’ll still give the Atlantic more names during crazy hyperactive seasons like 1933/2005/2020 and we won’t have to worry about whether they can even be retired or not if one decides to go nuclear.

I like that Idea for a 7th name list for use during hyperactive seasons.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#8 Postby Nuno » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:26 am

Seeing how anything that makes landfall anywhere these days is under consideration for retirement i wouldnt put it past the WMO to find a way to retire a greek named storm.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#9 Postby Nuno » Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:54 am

Seeing its been 15 years since the last time the Greek alphabet was used, I dont think most hurricane seasons will be this active.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#10 Postby TheStormExpert » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:18 am

Nuno wrote:Seeing its been 15 years since the last time the Greek alphabet was used, I dont think most hurricane seasons will be this active.

15 years is not that long of a time considering the most recent season like 2005 was 1933. So it is likely becoming more common due to climate change.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#11 Postby zhukm29 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:22 am

TheStormExpert wrote:
Nuno wrote:Seeing its been 15 years since the last time the Greek alphabet was used, I dont think most hurricane seasons will be this active.

15 years is not that long of a time considering the most recent season like 2005 was 1933. So it is likely becoming more common due to climate change.


I don't want to downplay the threat of climate change, but this is also a result of better technology that allows us to detect and measure the strength of storms that we wouldn't have been able to detect decades ago.

For perspective, every name list in the Atlantic has reached the T name except for one (list 1, which will be used next year). The T name is right on the edge of the list, and in many of those years we had 2+ tropical depressions that could have easily become tropical storms. From a pure statistical perspective, it's much harder to go past 24 names than 21 names. And yeah, 15 years is not a lot of time - 2010 could have been close as well, with 21 depressions, which could have exhausted the list had those depressions gained an additional 5 mph of strength.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#12 Postby Nuno » Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:33 pm

TheStormExpert wrote:
Nuno wrote:Seeing its been 15 years since the last time the Greek alphabet was used, I dont think most hurricane seasons will be this active.

15 years is not that long of a time considering the most recent season like 2005 was 1933. So it is likely becoming more common due to climate change.


Hyperactive seasons happen. This is why we have the greek alphabet.

I dont get this obsession with needing to come up a better system for naming when the one we have currently has never given us any problems.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#13 Postby RL3AO » Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:36 pm

Nuno wrote:
TheStormExpert wrote:
Nuno wrote:Seeing its been 15 years since the last time the Greek alphabet was used, I dont think most hurricane seasons will be this active.

15 years is not that long of a time considering the most recent season like 2005 was 1933. So it is likely becoming more common due to climate change.


Hyperactive seasons happen. This is why we have the greek alphabet.

I dont get this obsession with needing to come up a better system for naming when the one we have currently has never given us any problems.


I don't see any reason why the Atlantic shouldn't be able to match the East Pacific with 24 names. The big question becomes would we retire a greek letter? We almost had to face that because had the unnamed storm of 2005 been named operationally, Wilma would have been Hurricane Alpha.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#14 Postby Nuno » Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:45 pm

RL3AO wrote:
Nuno wrote:
TheStormExpert wrote:15 years is not that long of a time considering the most recent season like 2005 was 1933. So it is likely becoming more common due to climate change.


Hyperactive seasons happen. This is why we have the greek alphabet.

I dont get this obsession with needing to come up a better system for naming when the one we have currently has never given us any problems.


I don't see any reason why the Atlantic shouldn't be able to match the East Pacific with 24 names. The big question becomes would we retire a greek letter? We almost had to face that because had the unnamed storm of 2005 been named operationally, Wilma would have been Hurricane Alpha.


Knowing how easily everything is retired these days, the WMO would find a way to do it but technically they can't retire greek names.

My point though is seasons such as this or 2005 are anomalous so its not a concern to rewrite naming protocols, especially if this active phase comes to an end sooner than later.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#15 Postby toad strangler » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:00 pm

RL3AO wrote:There's a reason the West Pacific doesn't have this problem. Now I'm not saying the Atlantic should just have a continual list of names like the WPac. In fact I like the A to whatever nature of the Atlantic. But whether climate change has any impact or not, the vastly improved ability to detect weak tropical storms will continue to lead to the 21 name list being exhausted. I like the idea of having a backup list or two where the names are replaceable.


Exactly. This isn't rocket science. The Greek names thing is an abomination.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#16 Postby Weather Dude » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:03 pm

toad strangler wrote:
RL3AO wrote:There's a reason the West Pacific doesn't have this problem. Now I'm not saying the Atlantic should just have a continual list of names like the WPac. In fact I like the A to whatever nature of the Atlantic. But whether climate change has any impact or not, the vastly improved ability to detect weak tropical storms will continue to lead to the 21 name list being exhausted. I like the idea of having a backup list or two where the names are replaceable.


Exactly. This isn't rocket science. The Greek names thing is an abomination.

Yeah, not a fan of using Greeks. It was acceptable in 2005 because it was the only time it's happened. But now that it's about to happen again there needs to be a change, especially if one of them is bad enough to be retired , which given the fact it's mid September there's a good chance of that happening
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#17 Postby Nuno » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:34 pm

Only 2 seasons in 100 years would have required the use of Greek names up until now. I really think many of you are overreacting. I remember after 2005 it was assumed hyperactivity would be more frequent and it never materialized. We have better means of storm detection but that assumes we will have conditions like this season every season somehow.

I personally like the use of the Greek alphabet anyways.
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#18 Postby Weather Dude » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:39 pm

Nuno wrote:Only 2 seasons in 100 years would have required the use of Greek names up until now. I really think many of you are overreacting. I remember after 2005 it was assumed hyperactivity would be more frequent and it never materialized. We have better means of storm detection but that assumes we will have conditions like this season every season somehow.

I personally like the use of the Greek alphabet anyways.

Hypothetically... Hurricane Gamma becomes a Wilma-like storm intensity wise and landfalls in a populated area somewhere at peak intensity. Normally a storm like this would obviously be retired. But they don't retire Greek names. Next hyperactive season comes, and they end up using Gamma again.
To me it's like using Katrina again. Why use the Greeks when you can add auxillary names to the list? Especially since we still have half of September and all of Oct. And Nov. to go one of these Greek storms is bound to be retire-worthy. I get that it doesn't happen very often but I just think there are easier ways than using Greek letters. IMO
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#19 Postby Nuno » Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:46 pm

Weather Dude wrote:
Nuno wrote:Only 2 seasons in 100 years would have required the use of Greek names up until now. I really think many of you are overreacting. I remember after 2005 it was assumed hyperactivity would be more frequent and it never materialized. We have better means of storm detection but that assumes we will have conditions like this season every season somehow.

I personally like the use of the Greek alphabet anyways.

Hypothetically... Hurricane Gamma becomes a Wilma-like storm intensity wise and landfalls in a populated area somewhere at peak intensity. Normally a storm like this would obviously be retired. But they don't retire Greek names. Next hyperactive season comes, and they end up using Gamma again.
To me it's like using Katrina again. Why use the Greeks when you can add auxillary names to the list? Especially since we still have half of September and all of Oct. And Nov. to go one of these Greek storms is bound to be retire-worthy. I get that it doesn't happen very often but I just think there are easier ways than using Greek letters. IMO


Honestly, I think retired names should eventually come back into circulation. People in 2050 or 2060 are not going to care about Camille or Allen or whatever. Rather than resort to exotic or completely foreign names, names can be reintroduced perhaps after 50 years maybe.

And if Gamma can't be retired... so what? Is the existence of that letter remaining for future use really going to be a big deal?
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Re: Discussion of Greek Storm Names and their Retirement

#20 Postby Weather Dude » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:27 pm

Nuno wrote:
Weather Dude wrote:
Nuno wrote:Only 2 seasons in 100 years would have required the use of Greek names up until now. I really think many of you are overreacting. I remember after 2005 it was assumed hyperactivity would be more frequent and it never materialized. We have better means of storm detection but that assumes we will have conditions like this season every season somehow.

I personally like the use of the Greek alphabet anyways.

Hypothetically... Hurricane Gamma becomes a Wilma-like storm intensity wise and landfalls in a populated area somewhere at peak intensity. Normally a storm like this would obviously be retired. But they don't retire Greek names. Next hyperactive season comes, and they end up using Gamma again.
To me it's like using Katrina again. Why use the Greeks when you can add auxillary names to the list? Especially since we still have half of September and all of Oct. And Nov. to go one of these Greek storms is bound to be retire-worthy. I get that it doesn't happen very often but I just think there are easier ways than using Greek letters. IMO


Honestly, I think retired names should eventually come back into circulation. People in 2050 or 2060 are not going to care about Camille or Allen or whatever. Rather than resort to exotic or completely foreign names, names can be reintroduced perhaps after 50 years maybe.

And if Gamma can't be retired... so what? Is the existence of that letter remaining for future use really going to be a big deal?

I agree about potentially re-entering retired names back into the list after many years, especially some of the less infamous ones. All I'm saying is I think having an extra list or something like that would be more effective than using Greek letters once a list gets used up.
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